Data Journalism EN

Rapid Spike in the Number of Prisoners in Turkey

On the 31st of December 2017, the number of captives held within the justice system in Turkey had risen to 232.340, a 15.7% increase in comparison to the same day in 2016. The number of minors convicted had risen by 109.4% during the same period reaching an all time high of 2.056. The number of those imprisoned was reported to be 28.108 in 2013 and a staggering 79,261 as of the end of 2017.

The end of year report published by TurkStat, revealed the statistics for the Ministry of Justice. The figures show a rapid rise in prison populations, with 140.098 accounted for at the end of 2013, and 232.340 at the end of 2017. The rate of increase exacerbated by the State of Emergency Rule.

Of the captives accounted for in December, 17, 65.9% of the population had been convicted with the remaining 34.1% detained. The 2013 figures at 80.5% and 19.5% divide, respectively, demonstrate great increase in detention rates with the State of Emergency Rule.

DETENTION AS METHOD OF PUNISHMENT’

The period of detention, as stipulated by Article 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code, is limited to 2 years, with an annex stating  that a further 3 years could be enforced in special cases. This was followed by a caveat stated that this limit could be doubled if seen fit by the Specially Authorized Courts (SAC). With the abolishment of the SACs, legal detention was limited to five years, and continued to be the subject of critique by legal professionals, as it was bound to be abused as an unlawful method of punishment.

The long term detention methods were used to suppress and silence the justice and opposition groups that were  governed by the Gulenist movement, and continue to be used as a political whip in the months proceeding the July 15 coup attempt.  Infact, the cases being held in detention resulted in a net increase in the total number of prisoners. The evidence gathered proves beyond reasonable doubt that the prison system is being exploited. The accusations against the President hold undeniable gravity, and the publics trust in the detention method remains heavily tarnished.

The State of Emergency Decree (KHK) No. 694 published on the 25th of August 2017, permits an extention on the limit of detention once again, permitting 5 years for crimes affiliated with the fight against terrorism. This suggests strongly that detention in prisons will likely continue.

3 IN 1000 OF THOSE OVER THE AGE OF 12 ARE BEHIND BARS, A 60% INCREASE IN 4 YEARS

The end of year report for 2013 displays that 188 in 100.000 were held in prisons, that figure reached 288 out of 100ç000 in 2017. With 355 out of 100.000 over the age of 12 being held within the justice system in total. This proportion is much higher in males with 681 out of 100.000, almost reaching the 1% mark.

POPULATION PER PERSONEL: 4.3

Whilst the population per personel has increased over the last 5 years, 4.3 remains a strikingly low number. Upon review of the data released by the Ministry of Justice and General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses  in November 2018, we can extrapologate that the number of personnel has increased from 53.528 to 61,092 in just 10 months. The same data revelas that of these personnel, 80% fall under security staff, such as enforcement officers. Only 3% of staff are specialists, catering for health care, mental health, or social work. 2% is accounted for by the executive team with the remaining 15% registered under support staff. The prisons primary function appears to be to keep prisoners in line, with a minimal cash-flow evidence to show any effort to rehabilitate them.

WHO ARE THE FOREIGNERS?

The statistics also reveal the race and demographics accounted for by those within the justice system. Yet, there is no data shared for the countries of origin of the captives held. The detainee population held on the grounds of illegal immigration is not mentioned. This has been a particular point of contention for the experts we have consulted.

215.761 CONVICTS ENTER PRISONS IN 2017

Accounting for multiple entry records of a prisoner within the same year, 215.761 convicts entered the justice system in 2017. Again accounting for re-entry, 193.662 prisoners were registered on the same dates in 2016. 96.2% of the prisoners who entered and 96.1% of the prisoners who exited were men.

NUMBER OF MINORS HELD SKYROCKETS

The number of minors (aged 12-17) who entered the prison system has increased by 109.4% in comparison to the previous year, reaching 2.056, whereas those who were minors at the point of commiting the crime rose by 28.3% to 11.805.

THE MOST COMMON CRIME AMONG CAPTIVES: THEFT

For captives held for more than one offence, the justice system bases the sentence on the most severe offence. Of those who enetered the justice system in 2017, 17.3% of captives were detained for theft, 12.3% for violence 7.7% sentenced under the bankruptcy act, 7.2% held for the production or distribution of illegal substances and 3.7% for murder.

WHERE ARE THE POLITICAL CRIMES?

Another point to note is that according to the statistics released, there are no figures published for political crimes.The intensity under the heading ’other crimes‘ is also remarkable.. While data on other offences with a very low rate of detention are shared openly with the public, their reluctance to do so for those held under political crimes leads to reasonable doubt over transparency.

36.2% OF CAPTIVES ARE QUALIFIED WITH ONLY PRIMARY SCHOOL DIPLOMAS

In further review of the data released in the end of 2017 report, 47.3% of those held for theft were primary school graduates, 17.7% graduated from primary schooling system (accounting for primary and secondary in Turkey), 12.3% were college or vocational school graduates. 37.1% of those who commit crimes of violence, 22.1% were vocational school 19.8% were primary school graduates.

32.9% OF INMATES FOR MURDER ARE COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY GRADUATES

30% of those held under crimes under the bankruptcy act were graduates from college or equivalent, 25.6% of them were secondary school graduates and 19.2% of them were primary school graduates. For those held for murder, 29.6% were secondary school graduates, 28% college or equivalent and 19.2% were primary school graduates. Those accused of gender crimes were comprised of 39.1% primary graduates, 20.5% college or equivalent, and 18.8% primary school educated.

UNIVERSITY GRADUATES MOST OPPOSED TO BANKRUPTCY LAWS

The education status and severity of crimes of those who entered the justice system in 2017 were evaluated. 33.1% of prisoners were found to no qualifications, 23.4% are noted to be illiterate, 22.5% were secondary school graduates, 15.8% were primary school graduates, 13.3% have secondary, vocational or equivalent qualifications punished under theft. With university graduates at 16.1% ranking in first place of those detained for crimes under the bankruptcy act. Inlcuding offenses such as breach of commitment within bankruptcy law or refusal to pay divorce settlements/alimony.

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